Die Spitz - Teeth (Cover Artwork)

Die Spitz

Teeth (2023)

poop butt records

Review written by Bryan "Jonesy" Jones

Teeth from the band Die Spitz is one of the most exciting recordings of the year. It came out in January, and I was immediately hooked as soon as I saw the band’s name. One of my favorite albums from last year was Ribbit by Suck, and when I saw the name Die Spitz, I thought I had found another German punk band with loads of aggressive energy and feedback. Die Spitz is definitely able to hang with them, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn this all-female quartet of multi-instrumentalists hails from Austin, TX -- just a long weekend away from my homebase in Stillwater, OK. I hope to watch them trade instruments between songs at the Austin City Limits festival this October.

Every track on this album smashes, but “Groping Dogs Gushing Blood” delivers the lasting image of the album. It taunts a man who thought he was more than our singer, Chloe, who usually drums, could handle. But it’s clear by mid song that he is the one who has bitten off more than he can chew -- and he won’t be biting anything else. With the chorus building from mocking questions of “Don’t you wanna stay alone with me?” to declarations of, “I’ll break your fucking teeth,” the song delivers a master’s class in loud/quiet/loud dynamics -- hitting you in the face with the loud part as our singer growls the word, “Teeth.” The image on the album cover drives home this message. The cover features a closeup of a woman’s grin as she licks blood from her teeth letting the excess dribble down her chin.

 "Grip" and "Hair of the Dog" (the single art for which also features a photo of a woman with a mouth full of blood) open the album and really set the stage for the type of destruction listeners will encounter. “Grip” begins with palmed power chords and broken scales that lead into feedback, signaling the bass and drums to perfectly fill in the gaps, as Ava’s vocals begin to haunt the track. It's the kind of song that builds up steam until the pressure valve breaks on the chorus. “Hair of the Dog” burns at high octane as soon as you hear Ava plug in her guitar. The main riff is absolutely relentless with its sliding power chords based around the minor third. And everything else on the album scratches an inch that hasn’t been relieved since the Pixies.

The band just won Best Punk, Best New Act, and Best Residency at the Austin Music Awards. Back in July, they played a residency at Hotel Vegas, and after a few mini tours of New York and LA, they are currently opening for Amyl and the Sniffers. It’s a blistering start for a band that began as a Covid-19 project between high school juniors: Ava Schrobilgen, Kate Halter, and Ellie Livingston. Ava and Ellie go way back. The pair met at ballet practice when they were kids. The drummer, Chloe Andrews, is a third-year psychology major, who came aboard after the band played only two house shows. So, they are writing set lists while taking notes in psych--and killing it!

They aren’t even signed yet. Vocalist/Guitarist, Ava says the band is “label shopping,” hoping to find a label that matches their needs along with their “style [and] beliefs.” Let’s hope the producer can keep up -- these recordings already sound like the work of a seasoned vet.

I imagine a lot of writers are going to take note of how the vocals complement each other, how they grow from a whisper to a screech in just the right way, turning on a dime, shattering glass before whispering about how much they enjoy breaking stuff. But what really sets these recordings apart is the attention to room. They know the importance of silence and how negative space can make the loud sections in the loud/quiet/loud structure more powerful. They also know the best way to make someone want something more is to simply take it away. Shrinking vocals, and distorted, harmonic guitars drop away to bass and drums, before building back up to a sensory shaking crescendo. And just when you think you have them figured out, Die Spitz does something unexpected adding new layers to their sound without ever needing to leave behind what makes great, raw, punk so alluring.

Last year’s EP The Revenge of Evangeline features the same mastery of dynamics, feedback, and echo-y vocals as Teeth, but a lot of these songs feature Ellie on vocals -- so, be sure to check that one out too.